COVID-19 Doesn’t Discriminate: The Effects Are Felt on All Aspects of Society
- On October 20, 2020
As we enter the eighth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world looks vastly different than it once did. The majority of US students are still attending school virtually or in a hybrid approach, erasing what we once thought of as “regular school hours.” Economic and health care concerns have eliminated many childcare and housekeeping roles in American households. In just a few months, household roles have drastically changed for many Americans.
Almost overnight, caregivers became teachers and were forced to find ways to adapt. These days, in addition to now being “teachers,” caregivers are making all meals and snacks and constantly tending to the house. Numerous families have enlisted their own children to pitch in. Children are helping out with caregiving, meal prep, laundry, and clean up. Children taking on traditionally adult responsibilities is certainly a new dynamic in the advent of the virus. This “new normal” has given us many other changes as well. There have been subtle disruptions –loss of “work” hours due to assisting children during “school hours,” lack of motivation and trouble concentrating due to not having a designated office. There are far more drastic family changes that have happened lately, too. Job loss due to layoffs or having to quit one’s job due to added household and familial responsibilities. Sadly, those who have left jobs due to the pandemic may permanently leave the workforce. There is substantial evidence that certain legally protected groups of people will now continue to see disparity in income and career growth and development. Certain job sectors will see a greater impact stemming directly from the pandemic. This comes at a time when pay gaps were finally starting to shrink thanks to new legislation, hiring practices, and awareness.
These new household roles will certainly have a lasting effect. The most impactful effects for American households may include: increased stress due to more family and household responsibilities, decreased physical and mental health and wellness, decreased income or stable employment, increased child and domestic abuse and violence, increased systematic inequalities, lack of socialization, lack of participation in athletic competition, decreased vacation time, health care disruptions, increased loneliness, and lack of ability to get common products due to shortage in supply chains.
So what can you do? Acknowledge the “new normal,” while maintaining awareness that things will get better. Be sure to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Be aware of stereotypes and biases you may have and do not act upon them. Increase your knowledge about the legal rights you may have, such as leave entitled to you through the Family First Corona Virus Response Act. And finally, be well, stay safe and try to find pleasure in the little things.
Nicole Sorokolit Croddick is Counsel at Davison, Eastman, Muñoz, Paone, P.A., where she focuses her practice on employment and labor matters. She consults companies on human resources issues and has conducted internal investigations on ethical and legal violations. With this breadth of experience, she has gained a deep understanding of the problems that exist in the modern workplace. She has drafted employee handbooks, severance agreements, and facilitated trainings on a variety of labor and employment law and compliance topics, including Continuing Legal Education.